My name is Sandra Ross (@ketokonduct), and I am 37 years old. I live in South Jordan, Utah, and work as a personal trainer. After reaching over 300 pounds and yo-yo dieting without success, I went keto, started weight lifting, and was able to lose 130 pounds.
My struggles with my weight began when I was 9 years old. I started gaining weight, and my dad put me on my first true diet, Slim Fast. Being so young, I developed a bad relationship with food. Food was viewed as “bad,” and all the diets just perpetuated my issues with food and weight. This pattern continued through my life into my late 20s as I yo-yo dieted to try to find a balance. When I was tipping the scales at over 300 pounds, social anxiety started to play a huge role in my poor relationship with food. I felt uncomfortable eating in public because I worried people would judge me for whatever I put in my mouth. So, I became a recluse and didn’t want to leave my house. I lost friendships because I didn’t want to engage with my friends. Home was safe and where I could eat what I wanted and do what I wanted without judgement.
I knew that I needed to make a change, but it took me a while to act. I went to the doctor for my annual visit in 2002 and had gained 80 pounds in about 6 months.
The doctor told me if I continued to gain like I was, I would not live past my mid 30s. My labs were not ideal and I knew it was bad, but I didn’t really understand the details enough to make changes. On the way home from the doctor I stopped at Carl’s Jr. At that moment I realized I needed to make a change, but didn’t know how to start. So I started yo-yo dieting. I went to another doctor who prescribed the weight loss drug phentermine. I took it until and I maxed out the amount you can take, and it was no longer effective. So I switched to another weight loss drug called phendimetrazine and maxed out of that as well. I felt hopeless and out of options.
In 2014, I chose to go on the keto diet under the instruction of a doctor.
I didn’t feel like I was being restricted or like I was on a diet. I learned that eating low-carb and higher-fat could help me lose weight and sustain that weight loss. That finally helped me curb my cravings and kept me full for much longer periods of time than when I was eating *a lot* of carbs. I finally felt what it was like to not constantly think about food. Up to that point, I was completely obsessed with food.
Here’s what I typically eat in a day now.
Breakfast: Coffee with collagen and half and half at 7 a.m. Eggs with cheese, bacon/sausage at 9 a.m.
Lunch: I will have a salad with protein (chicken or tuna) typically at 3 p.m.
Snack: Pork rinds and egg salad or cheese.
Dinner: Spaghetti with healthy noodles or steak and some sort of veggie like loaded broccoli.
Dessert: Keto cookie or berries with cream.
Typical my week of exercise includes 5 days of weight training. I got into it because I learned that if you have more lean mass you can eat more calories, and I was *all* about that!
These three changes made the biggest difference in my weight loss.
Change 1: Incorporating fats helped curb my appetite. Fat also helps convert your body from being a carb-burner to burning fat as fuel (aka ketosis), and this helped me feel less hungry. Lowering my carbohydrate intake also freed me from being a carb addict.
Change 2: Eating fewer carbs helped ease my joint pain. Converting to burning fat as fuel helps to decrease inflammation, which helps reduce water weight and joint pain. This helped me to be able to weight train and be more physically active.
Change 3: Weight training has helped my social anxiety *so much.* In the beginning, I was at my most vulnerable and most uncomfortable. I had to put myself out there and outside of my comfort zone to make myself better and stronger and healthier. In time, I have become much more confident. The strength and the mental acuity that I have developed with weight training has also helped me overcome my anxiety.
Since 2014, I’ve lost a total of 130 pounds.
My weight loss journey wasn’t streamlined or perfect. It takes a lot of lessons and mental changes, which take time. I had to look at food differently and correct my relationship with it. For years, food comforted me. Food can be enjoyed, but it is fuel, and I’ve learned to comfort myself in other ways. To make lasting changes, it’s so important to be kind to yourself and give yourself time to adjust.